Westboro Baptist Church Responds to Phelps’ Death: ’Thank God’
News broke Thursday that the former leader of the anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church, Rev. Fred Phelps Sr., died shortly after midnight at the age of 84. Now, members of the "God Hates Fags" organization, which has about 40 members who are mostly extended family of Phelps, are responding to his death.
"The death of Fred Phelps, a man who preached faithful to a dark world, is nothing but a hypocritical hope for you!" the WBC tweeted Thursday. "Westboro Baptist Church thanks God for Fred Phelps Sr.'s passing," the church wrote with a link to their website (www.godhatesfags.com) that contains a lengthy statement:
"The world-wide media has been has been in a frenzy during the last few days, gleefully anticipating the death of Fred Waldron Phelps Sr. It has been an unprecedented, hypocritical, vitriolic explosion of words. So - the death of Fred Phelps' body, a man who preached a plain faithful doctrine to an ever darkening world, is nothing but a vain, empty, hypocritical hope for you. It's like every journalist in the world simultaneously set aside what little journalistic integrity they have, so that they could wait breathlessly for a rumor to publish: in-fighting, succession plans, and power struggles, oh my! How shameful! You're like a bunch of little girls on the playground waiting for some gossip!"
The WBC's Twitter has been pretty active since Phelps' death as they've posted pictures of protesting a Young the Giant concert and tweeted plans to picket an upcoming Lorde concert. And of course, they continue to spread their message of hate:
"Our duty: tell you the truth of God: that their sins are taking you to Hell. It's how we love our neighbors," they write.
Over the weekend, Phelps' estranged son, Nathan Phelps, revealed in a Facebook post that his father was near death. Many speculated whether the LGBT community will picket his funeral: some thought it would be the ultimate revenge while others wanted to take the high road and pity the WBC founder. It was also reported that Fred Phelps may not even have a funeral, as suggested in a tweet the WBC made in February when Huffington Post editor Nick Wing tweeted to them:
"Would the WBC ever consider picketing one of their own member's funerals? Why or why not?"
They replied: "@nickpwing We don't worship the dead in this church, so there'd be no public memorial or funeral to picket if any member died."